Delivering the Adamantite is no more complicated than just taking a quick jaunt back to the ancient ruins located beneath the conveniently obvious landing pad in the middle of the ocean, which prompts a quick discussion that the resident geniuses are going to install it. I’m not sure how you install metal into a device, as it’s usually just used to make, like, parts which you subsequently install, but since the quest to pick this stuff up didn’t take forever I’m not going to sweat it.
This all certainly feels like we’re getting pretty close to the endgame, but that seems unlikely – we’ve still got one more crystal to theoretically save and most likely completely fail to save, and the party hasn’t even hit level 20 yet. It’s convincingly handled, though, without any of the obvious markers that it can’t possibly be this easy aside from having relentlessly failed to save every single crystal up to this point. But what’s a game without a few setbacks, right?
At any rate, the group goes to sleep, then wakes up to find that the airship is already ready for flight. Onward, to boss fights!
The downside of taking breaks between installments of this game is that when you have a game so thoroughly built upon making an extended project out of your characters, you occasionally… forget what you were doing with your characters. Luckily, it usually just takes a few minutes of glancing at abilities to figure out what I was doing again with character abilities.
With the plot? Not so much, since we have unfortunately slipped into a mire wherein we are going in a seemingly random direction for no reason beyond the fact that there’s stuff in that direction or something and I guess we can go that way or something? We seem to have nicely stepped away from our ostensible goal of finding the Earth Crystal, that’s not great. So it’s off to the Desert of Shifting Sands, because that’s close on the map and we haven’t been there yet, so why not?
The party has a boat again, which is a good thing. It’s impossible to imagine that the fate which befell the last boat will also befall this one, due in no small part to the fact that this boat is not being pulled along by a sea serpent. With this boat, we can hopefully prevent the last crystal from shattering, which would both be the first successful effort that the group had made thus far and also be kind of a failure anyway.
I mean, we’re down to saving a quarter of the world-preserving crystals here, somehow I don’t think the one still working will make the other three better.
Still, no point in not trying, right? Off we go, and to the great surprise of absolutely no one, there are only a handful of locations to go to that we haven’t already visited, thus making the process of locating the Earth Crystal chiefly a matter of finding which one has something relevant to do there. At least it’s consistent?
I made a passing comment at the end of the last article that I think deserves to be unpacked a little bit, because it’s the basic problem that every single Final Fantasy game since Final Fantasy V has been trying to solve. How do you allow characters to share abilities while still making all of the diverse classes available be worthwhile for something unique?
The reason this comes up is because of things like Beastmaster. As a class, Beastmaster is pretty awful. Its big tricks aren’t useful, it doesn’t provied more damage or healing than any other class, and the one thing it has in its favor is the ability to control an enemy. That sounds pretty screamingly useful, to boot… but then you realize that there’s no need to actually put that ability on a Beastmaster. Why would you not just grind for a little bit on Beastmaster, unlock Control, and then never touch it again?
Such is the plight of several jobs in the game. Such is, in fact, the plight of several jobs in every game, but this is the point where the struggles begin. In Final Fantasy III, there were a couple of classes you could get away with never using, but a majority of those jobs were useful somewhere even if you weren’t likely to use them from start to finish. In Final Fantasy V, even decent jobs pale compared to the jobs that combine nicely with other jobs.
So the protagonists of the game are currently not doing well at their stated goals. Two crystals encountered, two crystals destroyed. In their defense, the job wasn’t theirs until the wind crystal was already in bad shape and the water crystal sort of happened without their consent. Nevertheless, based on series history I’m sure that the other two crystals will wind up being just fine.
Well, they might.
All right, so it’s a foregone conclusion what’s going to happen from here. The important thing is to keep moving on despite that fact, after stopping to have a brief chat with the King to indulge in a round of the “We Told You So” dance. To his credit, he’s already realized that he probably should have listened to the group in the first place, not that it helps him a whole lot now. But Walse wasn’t the only kingdom amplifying its crystal with machinery, and the kingdom of Karnak seems poised to be the next victim of… whatever is going on now.